From education to employment

How a free qualification could help you get ahead in work

Taking a free Level 3 qualification (equivalent to A levels or an advanced technical certificate or diploma) could open doors to a better job, which might mean a higher salary, or more flexible working patterns to support your family.

But how do you know if it’s right for you?

Hear from adults whose level 3 qualification has put them on the path to a more fulfilling working life.

Will taking a qualification help me get a new job?

There are hundreds of free courses available as part of the government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee. The courses have all been identified so they can help you boost your job prospects in a number of sectors, many of which are looking to hire.

Katharine Farrell works at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, promoting and maintaining plant health and biosecurity and says that her Level 3 qualification in Horticulture opened up a range of opportunities for her:

“It’s so interesting working in this growing sector. Everyone that I met on the course is now working in such different roles. Due to the breadth of topics covered in the qualification, it’s opened the door to an industry where the possibilities are huge!”

Gaining a Level 3 qualification could make you stand out to potential employers. And as the free courses on offer as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee have been identified based on their ability to provide good job opportunities, you can feel secure knowing the new skills you’re learning are skills employers need.

Can I earn more money?

Taking a qualification could be your first step to increasing your earnings. In fact, gaining a qualification at Level 3 could help increase your earnings by 9%.

When Gary Oates wasn’t earning what he wanted, he started chatting to the electricians in the maintenance team he worked in and realised that not only would he enjoy doing a similar role, but he could earn more. He went on to gain his Level 3 qualification in Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment.

Gary said: “My Level 3 qualification helped me take the next step to a better job that I find more interesting and where I earn more. This has given me and my family more security.”

If like Gary you are keen to earn more, taking a Level 3 qualification from the Lifetime Skills Guarantee could help you get there, as they have been chosen to help adults move into better jobs.

Is there a course that’s right for me and that can fit around my life?

There are a range of courses available from construction to health and social care, and many more. With shorter courses available, you can make sure that the one you choose not only interests you, but works with your schedule. The free courses will be available long-term, so you can also take advantage when the time is right for you.

Carrie Abbott chose to do a Level 3 Childcare course, which was delivered at her children’s school, where she also worked.

“It was the perfect fit for me”, Carrie said.

“It meant I could work and study at the school, whilst still managing my childcare and other responsibilities.”

Katharine didn’t know exactly what job she wanted to do, she had a passion for gardening and decided that she needed to learn more to get into the industry. She echoes Carrie’s experience and says as a single-mum, it was really important that she could enjoy and manage her studies around looking after her children:

“I wasn’t sure about what course to do at first, but after chatting to the tutors, I decided to take the Level 3 course in Horticulture and it’s been an essential step in helping me progress. The tutors helped me find the perfect course that interested me and worked with my other responsibilities.”

There are mix of subjects and course lengths, so you can choose a course that interests you, works with your life, and builds on your existing skills – taking one of the free courses could lead to your best job yet.

How can I get started?

To find out if you’re eligible for a free Level 3 qualification and to understand more about the courses available visit

If you would like help choosing a course or getting advice on your job options, get in touch via webchat at or by phone on 0800 100 900.

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